Economic justice was a critical part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s lifelong pursuit of racial equity. King decried the poverty wages of African American workers and promoted fair compensation and working conditions as crucial to a just society.
Some employers are stepping up to highlight not only the untapped business benefits that many businesses are missing out on by overlooking paid leave, but also the need for public policies to address unmet need.
Could it be that workers whose employers offer leave benefits actually end up getting sick less often because they are happier? Senator Al Franken (D-MN), tongue firmly in cheek, proposed this “radical” idea at a hearing on paid leave held by the Senate Health Economic Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s Subcommittee on Children and Families.
On this anniversary, policymakers, advocates, and businesses are calling for Congress to do more for working families.
The FMLA provides some workers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for a new baby, tend to a sick family member, or recover from one’s own illness. Having access to this type of leave has enabled many workers to take the leave they need without worrying about the security of their jobs. Yet, many others are excluded from the law.
When fast food workers bravely took to the streets in September to protest the unlivable wages that many earn, the media shone a spotlight on the exploitative and unsustainable practices of some large employers. But while these unscrupulous businesses deserve all the attention they are getting, they don't represent the majority of business owners. In fact, many workers are lucky enough to work for businesses that truly care about them-businesses that know the value of their employees and want to do what's right for them, including ensuring access to paid leave.